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Am I suited to racing?

phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
edited February 2012 in Amateur race
I've considered having a go at racing for a wee while but have never thought myself particularly suited to it. Most of my riding thus far has been sportives, in particular some of the European ones.

I'm quite small, weighing in at around 58kg, so am ok on the climbs. As accurate as my Tacx Flow is I do around 4.4 watts per kg for an hour, which whilst ok on the climbs is I feel quite weak on the flat. Due to training for European climbs predominantly my sprint is pretty poor.

All of which makes me think I'm ill suited to doing criteriums and the like. Am I right or are there races here that are a bit hillier in nature?

Posts

  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    There's a simple way to find out .....
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    There are hilly races but I suppose how many depends on where you live - it says London under your avatar - I haven't raced down there but I'd guessing it's not the most hilly area for racing. The other thing about hilly races is often they are full of ups and downs taken at full gas rather than long seated climbs - often because big climbs tend to descents which aren't always suited to a bunch of 80 3/4 cats descending at 50mph.

    Like fish says you could have a go - how do you get on with chaingangs compared to people who do race - that should give you a bit of a guide.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • im 56kg, and i'm strongest at crits @ cross racing
    you need to get used to sudden changes in pace, my hour threshold is good, but low compared to others, but my 5 min is very good.

    just go for it and enjoy it
    I do science, sometimes.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    If you are in London and good on hills then how about racing at Hog Hill? That hill cancels out the advantage the sprinters have from what I've been told, the more laps the better for the climbers.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    Have a go. /endthread
    Twitter - @NapD
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  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    If you have to ask, then the answer is no.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    Herbsman wrote:
    If you have to ask, then the answer is no.

    Dont be silly.

    Op, if you can get out of cat 4 then a world of hilly road races await! Hog Jill might be a good bet. Hillingdon requires either a big break which demands tt style riding, or a big sprint from what I've seen
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    Might give Hog Hill a go. Can you just turn up and have a go or are there any requirements?
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    phreak wrote:
    Might give Hog Hill a go. Can you just turn up and have a go or are there any refreshments?

    fixed it for you..
    Have you had a look see on the BC website?
    I am presuming you have your race licence - silver membership provisional to be starting with?
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    Nope, I have nothing but me and my bike. Was hoping for a try before I buy type arrangement :)
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Look for some GoRace events - think they require the least to enter in the way of memberships etc. The place to look is the British Cycling events calendar - GoRace are most likely closed circuit events so search for closed circuit in your region and see what comes up. You can ride normal 3rd and 4th cat events without a licence but you need to purchase a day licence which can get pricey depending on the event - I think different levels of event have different requirements/costs.

    You can get a free bronze BC membership if you join an affiliated club too - for the first year at least - so if you are in a club that should give you something - you can take the cost of the bronze off your silver membership if you choose to get one.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    You don't need anything, you just pay more for the day licence.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • There are a lot of crits in and around London and as has been said Hog Hill will probably suit you best for them. Later in the year you might want to look at road races, see -

    http://www.surreyleague.co.uk/
    http://serrl.co.uk/

    and of course the BC calendar.

    I'd encouracge riding with a club before you do any racing (you don't say if you do), the bunch riding you do in sportives is not like racing.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    I have ridden with a club quite a few times before but am not currently a member of one.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    There are "hills" in most closed circuits around London (Hillingdon being the exception). As well as Hog Hill, Crystal Palace and Kent Cyclopark are both a bit bumpy, nothing major but after an hour on the rivet its amazing how much harder the slightest bump can seem. The main issue as to how well you respond to racing will probably be your ability to ride in a group, follow the best line, brake effectively and most importantly put in repeated short bursts of effort with little time for recovery in between. Its a very different thing to riding up an Alp, although obviously general bike fitness helps. FWIW, I'm so far proving to be rubbish at all of the above but have done better at Hog Hill and Hillingdon than the other two (which are both quite technical). Just have a go and see how you get on.

    I'd recommend joining a club and getting a licence by the way, you can just rock up and have a go (with a day licence) but unless you are naturally gifted, you'll find being able to ride in fast chaingangs a real help and a good way to guage whether you are likely to stand up to race pace.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    Can't argue with that.

    Have a look at my blog on the racing blogs page, I've talked about what I did to train and what level I was at before I started etc. It should be useful reading for you!
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • Phreak - Sounds like you have enough experience riding in groups and pushing yourself hard. Give it a go.

    Things to look out for in your first race -
    1) Can you stick with it. Even if you finish completely broken you've just had a great training session.
    2) Did you get yelled at a lot. A quiet word from someone asking for room or letting you know where they are is normal, getting yelled at once is fine (you or the yeller made a mistake, try to learn something from it), getting yelled at every other lap though means you're riding dangerously. If you're not 'that guy' you'll probably work out who they are.
    3) Don't crash. Enjoy it. Buy license. Repeat every weekend until you know how poor you are on the bike...
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    okgo wrote:
    Herbsman wrote:
    If you have to ask, then the answer is no.

    Dont be silly.
    I'm not being silly. To be a good bike racer you have to have a certain mentality; one that says 'I can do this' rather than 'can I do this?'. Of course, if you're in doubt then there's certainly no harm in trying. You might be pleasantly surprised.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • If you are thinking about racing then give it a go. First run out use if more as a watch and learn event. The hectic crazy bit esp at lower level Cat4 racing is the sprint at the end so maybe just see what happens in front of you the first time and then give it a try if you’re in the right place after a few times out. You don't mention which bit of London you are from but I know of at least one of the smaller clubs that is looking for racing members in the west London Surrey side. I won’t advertise here but if anyone interested in details let me know.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    I live in Deptford, so south-east London.
  • phreak wrote:
    I live in Deptford, so south-east London.

    You have higher Watts/kg than me; and I'm currently competitive at 2nd cat (and love Hog Hill). Get stuck in!
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I'd imagine that figure is probably out, if you look at the table here, (which only has measurements for 20 mins) 4.4 would put you pretty high up the table...?

    http://www.truesport.com/Bike/2007/arti ... ber15.html

    Unless I'm reading it wrong of course...
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    I can only go by what my Tacx Flow tells me. It might be out but I can do around 240-250 watts for an hour. I weigh 58kg. That equates to around 37/38km/hr according to my speedo.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    okgo wrote:
    I'd imagine that figure is probably out, if you look at the table here, (which only has measurements for 20 mins) 4.4 would put you pretty high up the table...?

    http://www.truesport.com/Bike/2007/arti ... ber15.html

    Unless I'm reading it wrong of course...

    Some things to note... small people tend to both have, and require higher w/kg to perform similarly to heavy people this is because whilst power to weight is relevant, power to drag matters too and that doesn't scale the same. Maryka has raced mens Cat 3 with Div III UCI pro 20minute w/kg on that table and been in the bunch, but not challenging - slightly different with women too as power profile is different to mens typically and she was low 50's at the time.

    Lower cat racing in the UK rarely taxes 20minute power, and if you don't have a good 1 or 5 minute power being super fresh at the end (which is what good threshold will give you) won't matter if you simply cannot produce any short duration powers. Another female rider once did Goodwood 3rds race at ~120watts, but just finished in the middle of the bunch as she couldn't produce the power at the finish to rival even much less rested men.

    More importantly though the actual power you need to compete is actually a huge range, it will depend on your ability to read a race and know when to go hard, when to go easy, the tactics you enjoy, your short duration powers, your abilities in a corner, or on a wheel etc. I raced the Ras de Cymru at around 4.4w/kg, it's a 2/3 race, but I was bunch fodder and not much more, which either means the US races are way easier (2 categories below their numbers), I'm a censored wasteful racer (which is true, but it's not as if I was off on pointless breaks), or other duration powers are what really matter (probably true as my 1 minute is poor meaning I'm often chasing longer durations to make up for it)

    As you know I'm now less fit and at around 4w/kg but I don't think I'd find a 2/3 race any harder at the minute, I'd likely arrive at the finish in a similar state and get a similar result to before, I just wouldn't've done as much in between.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    phreak wrote:
    I live in Deptford, so south-east London.

    You have higher Watts/kg than me; and I'm currently competitive at 2nd cat (and love Hog Hill). Get stuck in!

    Those are Tacx Watts though, not real ones :wink:
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    For 2/3/4 racing unless you're in a break then good 2-5min power (and quick recovery from the efforts) is what you need IMO. Of course good 20min power and FTP matter, but they're less likely to get you in a position to win or place highly.
    More problems but still living....
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    amaferanga wrote:
    phreak wrote:
    I live in Deptford, so south-east London.

    You have higher Watts/kg than me; and I'm currently competitive at 2nd cat (and love Hog Hill). Get stuck in!

    Those are Tacx Watts though, not real ones :wink:

    I know it's possible that none of these things are accurate, but putting in my data into here - http://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html - suggests that the wattage my turbo is returning is actually lower than it should be, given the speed my regular bike computer is saying I'm going at.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    amaferanga wrote:
    For 2/3/4 racing unless you're in a break then good 2-5min power (and quick recovery from the efforts) is what you need IMO. Of course good 20min power and FTP matter, but they're less likely to get you in a position to win or place highly.


    That tallies with what Jim says, and explains why I do ok in crits I guess.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    phreak wrote:
    amaferanga wrote:
    phreak wrote:
    I live in Deptford, so south-east London.

    You have higher Watts/kg than me; and I'm currently competitive at 2nd cat (and love Hog Hill). Get stuck in!

    Those are Tacx Watts though, not real ones :wink:

    I know it's possible that none of these things are accurate, but putting in my data into here - http://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html - suggests that the wattage my turbo is returning is actually lower than it should be, given the speed my regular bike computer is saying I'm going at.

    Hmmm that doesn't really tell you anything. Absolute speed on a turbo is meaningless - you can't compare with what some website says you'd be doing on the road at X Watts.

    Your Tacx Watts may indeed be lower than real Watts or they could be higher, but if they are lower then you certainly shouldn't be a 4th Cat or even a 3rd Cat for long.
    More problems but still living....
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